Mills Cup final
Pembroke 4 (Alan Sothern 2, Gordon Elliott, Patrick Good) Fingal 1 (Eamon Bane)
Pembroke picked off the one title to elude them in 2008/09 as they showed far too much know-how for underdogs Fingal at Grange Road yesterday, steaming clear in the second half.
Alan Sothern was tormentor-in-chief, as he has been for most defences this term, with two efforts before Gordon Elliott’s neat tip-in and Patrick Good’s well-struck shot added the garnish late on.
For the ALSAA club, there was no repeat of their only other final appearance when they failed to show up in 2006, falling in abject fashion to Glenanne.
This time round, they played a smart first half, managing to draw level through Eamon Bane, but once Pembroke clicked into gear, the result was inevitable.
It started in ominous fashion, though, as a penalty corner decision was brilliantly converted by Sothern, roofing a drag-flick, awarded after Chris Neville was adjudged not to have retreated five metres at an auto-pass.
However, Sothern had no qualms from the ensuing penalty corner, whizzing the ball past Nigel Grothier’s ears.
To their credit, Fingal stuck rigidly to a game plan of deep defence with four men breaking at speed, using Gary Sharman, Adrian Sweeney and the excellent Tom Manning’s pace to chase balls down the channels.
They soaked up a lot of pressure, Sothern shooting over and wide while Ben Chillingworth deflected Conor Harte’s flick wide.
But from the Fingallians’ first penalty corner, David Bane’s miscued drag-flick was dinked over David Harte by Eamon Bane to level the tie.
Pembroke, though, raised the tempo in the second half and retook the lead in bizarre fashion, Brian Gray, diving full length to block a Sothern cross, spectacularly deflected the ball into the roof of his own net
It was a deflating blow so soon after the interval and, despite Derek O’Gorman’s midfield machinations, Pembroke’s horde of international stars took hold.
The speed of interchange left Fingal chasing shadows. Elliott missed an open goal when Alan Giles and Andy McConnell combined while Grothier saved brilliantly down low from Sothern.
But Elliott made amends in the 51st minute, guiding Justin Sherriff’s shot goalward for 3-1 before Good completed the scoring with eight minutes to go.
Earlier, Monkstown claimed the spoils over Corinthian in an outstanding U-16 Benny Atkinson Cup final on penalty strokes after extra-time finished 4-4. Normal time ended 3-3 in a see-saw battle in what was a truly great advert for the sport.
Elsewhere, John Jermyn struck four times as Cork C of I hammered Catholic Institute 7-3 to take the Munster Senior Cup.
Pembroke: David Harte, Alan Giles, Craig Fulton, Ronan Gormley, Conor Harte, Maurice Elliott, Paddy Conlon, Andrew McConnell, Michael O’Connor, Justin Sherriff, Adam Pritchard, Alan Sothern Subs: Gordon Elliott, Ken Treacy, Patrick Good, Michael O’Connor
Fingal: Nigel Grothier, Eamon Bane, Gary Sharman, Lloyd Pearson, Andy Marshall, Derek O’Gorman, Ben Chillingworth, Stephen Thompson, Tom Manning, Chris Neville Subs: Brian Gray, Paddy Gahan, Adrian Sweeney
* Photos from Adrian Boehm of the Mills Cup final can be seen here